How to Become a 31-Year-Old with A College Degree and No Idea What You’re Doing

I value passion and purpose so much, so why don’t I have it?

Shooting concert footage for a DVD, 2018 | Photo by John Mathis

Go to College Because…Obviously

When I graduated college in 2017, I became the first one to do so in my family, something I took great pride in. It took me a long time to get there — taking semesters off, taking online classes, using a part-time schedule — but I finally did it, and that’s all that matters, right?

Just…Be a Writer

The only thing I felt like I was good at growing up was writing. That sentence’s weird structure might beg to differ, but plenty of non-family members told me they enjoyed my style of writing. I enjoyed it, too, so I thought I’d be a writer. It seemed like the only realistic option. I had no other real interests or passions that could be turned into careers. And if I ever did, I shot them down quickly and with little thought.

Start a blog! Everyone’s Doing It!

They make blogging sound so easy, don’t they? Everyone can do it! It’s so simple! You can get sooo many views, AND EVEN MAKE MONEY. Besides, I already enjoyed writing, so it seemed like a breeze many years ago when I established my first (now-defunct) website, Jessica Mathis Inc.

Change Your Major to Video and Film Production…Because You Like Making Narratives Using Your Webcam

I changed my major in college in 2014 to video and film production based on my love of making little narrative-driven videos using my webcam. I told myself I could just be a writer without a degree (little did I know, I could make films without a degree, too, but here we are), so that seemed like a totally legitimate reason to switch my major.

Wish You Would Have Just Finished Your English Degree

I’m actually so grateful for the friends I met in the film industry, the experiences I have, and the knowledge I would have never otherwise pursued. Storytelling is still ingrained in me, and I don’t want to abandon the visual side of it. So it’s definitely not wasted.

Come Up with A Hundred Different Exciting Ideas. Shoot Down Every One.

Yoga teacher. Medical coder. Program coder. Social worker. Medical assistant. Game designer. Technical writer. Psychologist. Wildlife handler at a zoo. I’ve had these bright ideas, and many more, that seem really cool and exciting, but then, I decide not to pursue them, for one reason or another. The path to get there is too expensive, the job burnout is real, I realize after a few days I don’t actually think the career fits me (despite no real-world experience).

Fail to Manage Expectations and Not Put in the Work for Long Enough

This is it. The real reason I have no dream job and I feel aimless. It’s not that I lack purpose or passion. I bleed passion! I am bursting with a sense of purpose!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jessica Mathis

Writer at The Unplug Initiative. Mental health advocate. Doing my best in the pursuit of self-improvement.